Record Welsh representation for overseas Olympic Games
Wales will have a record representation of athletes for an overseas Olympic Games and another chance to celebrate the breadth of Welsh elite talent, according to Sport Wales chief executive Sarah Powell.
Twenty-four Welsh athletes, across 11 sports, have been selected for Team GB.
In comparison, 30 Welsh athletes competed at London 2012 – which included home quota places for the Great Britain team – with 17 Welsh athletes competing at Athens in 2004, 12 at Beijing in 2008 and 15 at Sydney in 2000.
It comes just weeks after the success of the Welsh football team at Euro 2016.
“With such tough qualification standards, being selected to represent Team GB is impressive in itself and the athletes, and their coaches, deserve our congratulations for the hard work and dedication they have put in over many years.
“These Welsh athletes include current and former World, European and British champions and they are a group at the top of their profession capable of making their mark in Rio.
“The £7m of National Lottery money we invest in the whole elite sport system every year is proving to be a good value investment given the success of Welsh elite sport in recent years and the number of younger and emerging athletes we have in line for major events in the future.
“Wales makes up around 5% of the UK population but we regularly outshine what should be expected of us. I’m proud to say our athletes will make up around 6.5% of Team GB in Rio.
“These athletes are another set of role models who will provide inspiration for young poeple watching back home and inspire even more people in Wales to do sport.”
Sport Wales has set a rolling medal target of 6-10 medals across two Olympic Games cycles.
London 2012 was the largest ever Olympic medal haul (7 medals) for Welsh athletes. The previous best were the five medal hauls at London 1908 (3 golds), Stockholm 1912 (3 golds), London 1948 (4 silver) and Beijing 2008 (3 golds).
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones said:
“What a year 2016 is turning out to be for Welsh sport - for a small nation we really do punch above our weight. Enormous congratulations to all who have been selected for what is the biggest sporting event in the world, watched by billions of people.
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of these fantastic athletes in recent years and their dedication, passion and professionalism is incredible – this is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice and it’s a fantastic achievement. Praise must also go to those who help to identify and nurture talent such as the coaches, the National Governing Bodies and Sport Wales, who provide the elite support services for the athletes to progress, perform and to be successful.
“Having Wales represented at major international sporting events such as Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games is invaluable in terms of the way Wales is viewed by the world – something we as a Government are working hard to capitalize on. Having the world watching Wales is quickly becoming the norm and long may it continue.”
Rio 2016 – The Welsh Athletes
Jazz Carlin @JazzCarlin
Chloe Tutton @ChloeMTutton
Georgia Davies @Ge0rgiaDavies90
Ieuan Lloyd @IeuanLloyd1
Natalie Powell @Nataliep_90
Non Stanford @NonStanford
Helen Jenkins @heljinx
Joe Cordina @JoeCordina_91
Hannah Mills @470Girls
Chris Grube @chrisgrubegbr
Jade Jones @jadejonestkd
Chris Bartley @Chris_BartleyGB
Graeme Thomas @Graeme_Thomas
Victoria Thornley @VickyThornleyGB
Elinor Barker @elinorbarker
Ciara Horne @CiaraHorne1
Geraint Thomas @GeraintThomas86
Owain Doull @owaindoull
Becky James @BecksJames
Seren Bundy-Davies @serenbdavies
Sam Cross @SCrossy
James Davies @cubbyboi
Jasmine Joyce @joyce_jaz
Total = 24
The History - Olympic Statistics
Wales' all-time Olympic medal tally is 56:- 23 golds, 14 silver & 19 bronze.
GB’s all-time Olympic medal tally is 780:- 236 golds, 272 silvers & 272 bronze.
Welsh %’s for Team GB
Total Medals = 7.18% Gold = 9.75% Silver = 5.15% Bronze = 6.99%
2012 London – 30 athletes and 7 medals (3 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze).
5.6% of team (541) but 10.8% of TeamGB medals (65)
2008 Beijing – 12 athletes and 5 medals (3 gold, 2 silver – Nicole Cooke, Tom James, Geraint Thomas, David Davies and Tom Lucy respectively).
3.9% of team (311) but 10.6% of TeamGB medals (47)
2004 Athens - 17 Welsh athletes represented Team GB, 1 medal (David Davies won a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle swimming event).
6.3% of the total athlete team (271) but 3.3% of TeamGB medals (30).
2000 Sydney - 15 Welsh athletes. 1 medal – Ian Barker (sailing – silver). In addition, 3 Welsh coaches represented Team GB, Zhou Zhunling (Badminton), Chris Jones (Triathlon) and Steve Perks (Athletics).
4.6% of the total athlete team (321) but 3.6% of TeamGB medals (28)
London Medal Winners
· Geraint Thomas (with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh) – Cycling, Team Pursuit
· Tom James (with Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge and Alex Gregory) – Rowing, Men’s Four
· Jade Jones – Taekwondo, -57Kg
· Chris Bartley (with brothers Richard and Peter Chambers and Rob Williams) – Rowing, Men's Lightweight Four
· Hannah Mills (with Saskia Clark) – Sailing, Women’s 470
· Fred Evans – Boxing, Welterweight
· Sarah Thomas (with TeamGB) – Women’s Hockey
Previous Best Olympics for Welsh Athletes:
- Five medal haul in each of the 1908 London (3 golds), 1912 Stockholm (3 golds), 1948 London (4 silver) and 2008 Beijing Games (3 golds).
- Wales’ best gold medal tally came at the 1920 Antwerp Games (4 golds). Several competitors came close to equalling this tally at London 2012 but Welsh athletes finished equal to our previous second best Games performances at London, Stockholm and Beijing (3 golds).
- At 24 this is Wales' biggest contingent for an overseas Olympic Games. 17 athletes competed at Athens in 2004.
- It is the first time that Welsh females have outnumbered males in selection for the Games.
- Wales’ oldest athlete competing at the Olympics is shooter Elena Allen. She turned 44 in July.
- Wales’ youngest athlete is swim star Chloe Tutton who turned 20 in July.
- 15 of the 24 athletes have never competed at an Olympics before.
- The tallest athlete is rower Victoria Thornley who measure up at 193cm
- The lightest athlete is also the shortest. Hannah Mills is 50kg and 157cm tall.
- The experience will come from Elena Allen, Geraint Thomas and Helen Jenkins, who will all be competing at their third Olympic Games.
- Four of the seven medallists in London will be competing – Geraint Thomas, Jade Jones, Chris Bartley and Hannah Mills.
- Only Jade Jones will get to defend her Olympic title. Geraint Thomas will be competing on the road rather than the track this time.
- Helen Jenkins is married to a former Olympian. Helen’s husband Marc Jenkins competed in the triathlon in Athens 2004.
- The first athletes set to compete are the rowers and Geraint Thomas (men's road race) on Saturday 6th August.
- Triathletes Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins will have to wait until the last but one day of the Games before they compete in Rio. The final Saturday (20th August) could also see Seren Bundy-Davies in action as the last Welsh competitor – the women's 4x400m final takes place on this day.
Sport Wales Funding Facts
- Sport Wales invests around £39m in Welsh sport annually. This breaks down as £22m from Welsh Government and £17m from National Lottery.
- Sport Wales invests around £7m in elite sport annually and around £24m in community sport.
- The investment in elite sport is made solely through funds from the National Lottery.
- Sport Wales also funds governing bodies and other partners who invest their grant funding in elite sport.
- Many Welsh athletes also receive funding and support services through British Governing bodies and UK Sport.
Sport Wales Institute Facts
- The Sport Wales Institute, based at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff, is a highly skilled team of professionals who provide support and advice to Welsh athletes in two main areas:
Sport & Exercise Medicine
Sports Science support
- The practitioners based at the centre include specialists in sport psychology, strength and conditioning, physiology, physiotherapy and sports nutrition, soft tissue therapy.
- As well as support for Welsh athletes based in Wales, Welsh athletes will also get support services from their GB governing body training base, providing a network of support at different locations.
Sport Wales Targets
- Medal targets were put in place before London 2012 to cover future Games cycles.
- Sport Wales has set a rolling target for Olympic Games of 6-10 medals over two Games cycles.
- So, medal targets are 6-10 Olympic medals over the Rio and Tokyo Games.
- Our new Elite sport strategy includes additional targets for elite sport. Click here.
Q. This is the biggest Welsh representation for an overseas Olympic Games, why do you think that is?
We have been developing our elite systems over a number of years to ensure that success is sustained and not a one Games phenomenon.
Specifically we have invested in top level full-time coaching, support services, equipment, facilities and competitive opportunities for athletes.
We work in partnership with the wider sporting family such as UK Sport and UK-wide governing bodies so that there is a pathway that gives our athletes the best possible chance of competing at the top level of their sport.
And we cannot underestimate the importance of having appropriate funding to invest in elite sport. We invest around £7m of funding from the National Lottery in elite sport every year, while investment is also significant from UK Sport to athletes and governing bodies to.
Q. Does these mean more of the same in the future?
Sustaining success in elite sport is extremely difficult. It is not possible to standstill and continue seeing success because other countries are striving to improve and looking at how they can mirror our systems.
It means we have to innovate and look at smart ways to invest our resources.
In the future, a key ingredient will be working further down our systems, developing talent earlier and exposing them to all the factors that will help bring success, such as coaching and competition.
Q. What are your medal targets for the Olympic Games?
We have set a rolling target for Olympic Games of 6-10 medals over two Games cycles.
Winning 7 medals at London means that we had already hit our target over the London and Rio cycles.
Medal targets will be 6-10 Olympic medals over the Rio and Tokyo Games.
Our Elite Sport Strategy includes a number of targets for elite sport in Wales.
Q. What are you doing to capture the enthusiasm of elite success so that more people play sport?